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Towards a Critique of the Socio-logos of Justice: The Analytics of Raciality and the Production of Universality

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Fear of police terror has long been a daily facet of the lives of economically dispossessed people of colour in the urban spaces of North America, Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere. This essay addresses the conditions of possibility of the form of race injustice manifested in racial profiling and police brutality. It challenges the centrality of the logic of exclusion - the view that race is only politically and socially significant when race identification is explicitly or implicitly used to justify discrimination - in the understanding of race injustice. It explores the political-symbolic processes that have produced the mechanisms of racial power of which police brutality is a most dramatic example. To elaborate this critique of the logic of exclusion, I discuss the newspaper account of an episode of police terror in a favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. What the examination of the newspaper coverage of the Chacina de Vigário Geral reveals, is that this form of race injustice indicated the operation of meanings produced in an analytic of raciality, encompassing the various instances of manufacturing the modern concept of the racial - the science of life, the science of man, and the sociology of race relations.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: September 1, 2001

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